Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Agribusiness Economics


Charles Matthew Rendleman


This paper analyzes the rapid changes of the hog industry in the state of Illinois, with a focus on the impact of increasing scale on local communities and environments. Theory on externalities, regional economics, and efficiencies is explored. A literature review looks at past studies on effects to local environments, health, land values, and economic vitality and explores potential solutions. A regression model is used to determine the impact of increased hog concentration on local Illinois employment rates to see if local economies are strengthened or weakened by large hog operations. Results show Illinois counties that had hog farm loss between 1997 and 2007 saw an increase in unemployment rates. We discuss the various policy options to deal with potential externalities, along with their advantages and disadvantages. My final recommendation is a compensation system through a mandated insurance policy.